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2006 Mercedes-Benz ML350 Review

 

To Be or Not To Be the King of the Hill

By Alain Gayot

A three-quarter front view of a 2006 Mercedes-Benz ML350

In short: A cool SUV made even better.

Everybody wants to drive a Mercedes-Benz, especially an SUV, and even more so when this SUV is made a whole lot better than its seven-year-old predecessor. The ML350 replaces the old ML320, which had been plagued with manufacturing defects. It seems that they got things in order over in Vance, Alabama, where these luxury SUVs are made, and the three-point star brand wants to make sure you’re going to love the new edition.

An interior view of the 2006 Mercedes-Benz ML350   The 2006 Mercedes-Benz ML350

We liked it a lot, feeling that the revamped model is a whole lot more car than SUV. In fact, everything has been reworked from the sleeker exterior to the more luxurious interior. There is a new engine, new transmission and even a new transmission gear shift on the column coupled with steering wheel shift buttons. Inside there is more space and a few compartments here and there to stow away all sorts of things, but it will only seat five, leaving the increased cargo area for that purpose. Driving the car is fine, with a little more roll than we’d want, but for most of your driving it should not be a problem. It comes with permanent four-wheel drive and 17” wheels, so for the most part, it is sure-footed. For your comfort, there are separate automatic climate zones and A/C controls in the front and rear and even an electrostatic dust filter. As well, you may plug in your MP3 iPod devices thanks to an auxiliary input in the glove box. Most everything that you’d expect in this level of automobile is in it, except for front seat heating, which is a $690 option. In fact, a base model starts at $40,000, but our tester finished close to $49,000. Then, there is the ML500 with the V8 engine. That model we liked even more especially with the Airmatic suspension that enables you to raise the car for more ground clearance. But quit dreaming. That King of the Hill is $10,000 more.

A three-quarter rear view of a 2006 Mercedes-Benz ML350

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Warranty/Service: Four-year/50,000 mile new vehicle warranty, 24-hour Roadside Assistance Program.


QUICK SHEET
Price as tested: $48,825

Technical Specifications

Performance Data

Engine: V6 4-valve per cyl: 268 hp

Transmission: 7-speed auto with

Safety: Dual front airbags with multi-stage deployment and front & rear side airbags

Top Speed: 130 mph (limited)

Acceleration: 0-60 mph in 7.1 seconds

Braking: 70-0 in 171 ft.,
4-channel ABS, off-road mode for ABS

Fuel Economy: 16/city,
20/highway

Handling: Front suspension: Double wishbone, gas-charged shock absorbers, stabilizer bar; Rear suspension: Newly developed four-link, coil springs, shock absorbers

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Photography: AlphaMedia

(Updated: 08/16/12 NW)


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